Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Navy Bean Soup

In addition to being on a casserole kick, I am also on a bean soup jag. Again, I cite the cold and the related need for coziness as my defense. The fortunate thing is this: there is no shame in loving a good bean soup.

First though: In talking to friends, I have discovered that there are people out there who fear dried beans (eek!). So, this weekend, I'll be posting a leguminous dissertation about beans and bean cookery. Stay tuned ...

Tonight's soup recipe is below, do not be skeptical of the limited ingredient list, and the secret ingredient.

Navy Bean Soup
  • 1 pound navy beans (these are small white beans, not to be confused with cannellini which are large white beans)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 pound ham, chopped (I get thick sliced ham at the deli counter and cube it)
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup ketchup, to taste
  • salt and pepper

Pick over and rinse the beans. Put them in a bowl and cover them with water. In a large soup pot, saute the onion in a little olive oil until soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes, depending on the size of your chop.

Drain the beans and add them to the soup pot with the onions. Cover the beans with water (you want the water to be about 1" above the beans) and bring to a boil. Add salt (2 - 3 teaspoons). When the water is boiling, turn down the heat and simmer the beans until soft and smooshy, adding more water as needed (you don't want them falling apart, but they should be the opposite of al dente: gently yielding). Depending on the age of your beans, this could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours. Add the ham after the beans have started simmering.

When the beans are done, take your trusty potato masher and mash some of the soup up so it becomes creamy. Add more water if everything is too think.

Squirt in the ketchup. Start with 1/4 cup and see what it tastes like to you: you should taste a little tomato, but what you should find is that the ketchup brings the "beaniness" together with the onion and the ham. Add more ketchup if you'd like (remember this is not tomato soup ... unless you want it to be). Adjust salt to taste and grind in lots of pepper.

Makes 4-5 servings. I usually make a double batch of bean soups - so easy to freeze.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Everything sounds interesting, and, yes, it is comfort-food weather. I'm glad you'll be writing about dried beans. I always use those rather than canned, but with larger beans the results are sometimes unpredictable. I follow the soaking & cooking directions, but often end up with beans that are soft inside, with a tough outer shell.
You mention that the age of the beans matters. I keep several bags in the refrigerator and also put some in mason jars and keep them on a shelf near a window (not sunny.) Better not do that any more, right?

Blog Widget by LinkWithin